Tehran– Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has reiterated the necessity of establishing an inclusive government in Afghanistan while clarifying that Tehran does not recognize the ruling faction in Kabul.
“We insist on the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan because the Taliban are just part of and the entire reality in Afghanistan,” he told Iranian diplomats at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini Thursday during an event renewing allegiance to the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He also expressed Tehran’s displeasure over the Taliban’s move to deprive Afghan women and girls from pursuing studies and getting education.
“We regard such measures as contrary to the teachings of Islam’s prophet,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
Hirmand River water rights must follow legal channel
The Iranian top diplomat further pointed to Iran’s water rights from Afghanistan’s part of the Hirmand River according to the 1973 bilateral accord between the neighboring countries and underlined the need to abide by legal path of the agreement.
“We have mentioned to Afghan officials that the issues relating to water rights will not be resolved through political statements and that they must be followed through via a legal framework,” Amir-Abdollahian added.
Iran and Afghanistan have been locked in a long-running dispute over their shared water resources. At the heart of the dispute is the Hirmand River, which flows 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) south before flowing into Hamoun wetlands, located in Sistan and Baluchestan province.
Following more than a century of rifts over Hirmand’s water supply, Iran and Afghanistan signed a treaty in 1973 to establish a means of regulating each country’s use of the river.
Iran should receive an annual share of 820 million cubic meters from Hirmand under the accord, which Afghanistan has grossly violated in letter and spirit, endangering the lives of many Iranians who rely on Hamoun wetlands for drinking water, agriculture, and fishing.
Afghanistan has also built dams on the Hirmand which have constricted the water flow into Iran.
Iran desires peaceful, secure Afghanistan
Amir-Abdollahian further expressed concerns over sporadic border clashes in the past months along Afghanistan’s long border with Iran but reiterated the significance of a secure and stable Afghanistan for the Islamic Republic and stressed that there is no way to resolve existing issues other than “interactions between the two nations.”
The Iranian foreign minister then went on to express Tehran’s desire to help Afghan authorities establish peace and security across Afghanistan.
“We don’t want the repeat of the bitter incident in Mazar-i-Sharif,” he said, referring to the 1998 killing of eight Iranian diplomats in Iran’s consulate in the city after Taliban militants ran it over.
Amir-Abdollahian reiterated that the foreign policy doctrine set by the current administration is based on “dynamic diplomacy” and “intelligent interaction”.
The administration follows “a doctrine based on a balanced foreign policy, which means interaction with all parts of the world”, he added.
The minister said strengthening ties with neighboring countries and Asian nations is Iran’s tops priority.
Removal of sanctions
The foreign minister touched on the stalemated talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying the agreement remains an international document despite its weaknesses and strengths, but Iran’s top objective is the removal of the US-led sanctions.
“We have made good progress” towards the removal of the illegitimate sanctions, he said.
Talks between Tehran and other parties to the JCPOA resumed in Vienna in April 2021 aimed at bringing the US back into the accord and enforcing an end to Washington’s brutal “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
The discussions, however, have remained at a standstill since August 2022 due to the Biden administration’s insistence on not lifting all of the anti-Iran bans and its refusal to provide essential guarantees that it would not again abandon the agreement.
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